Should I Be Afraid of a Root Canal?

Every tooth has at least one root through which the jawbone feeds the tooth minerals and nutrients. This root and its internal canal are connected to the pulp, or chamber, at the middle of the tooth, which contains the nerves and blood vessels. Root canal treatment is designed to save a tooth when infection (or tooth decay) reaches the pulp. The procedure cleans away the infection, reinforces the root canal and the tooth, and alleviates the intense discomfort caused by internal tooth decay.

Reasons for Root Canal Treatment

The need for root canal treatment can stem from a number of causes, the most common of which is severe tooth decay that has reached the tooth’s pulp. However, you might also need root canal treatment if your tooth is cracked or fractured and its pulp is exposed to oral bacteria. Treating the pulp and root canals before they become infected can prevent the issues associated with severe tooth decay. It also makes it easier for your dentist to restore the damaged tooth and avoid having to extract it.

What You Can Expect

Before recommending root canal treatment, your dentist will first determine if your tooth can be restored with a less-invasive method, like a tooth filling. For minor to moderate cavities, a filling can restore the lost tooth structure and reinforce the tooth.

If root canal treatment is necessary, then your dentist will begin by anesthetizing the tooth and surrounding area. If you prefer, you may also opt for dental sedation to help you remain calm and relaxed during your procedure. After carefully cleaning and sealing the tooth and its root canal, your dentist may place a dental crown over it for additional protection and stability.